Mitchell's Pfeifer moving up officiating ranksCollege basketball players are still hitting the court and so is Kelly Pfeifer. Pfeifer, of Mitchell, recently refereed two NCAA Division I College Insider Tournament games Tuesday and Wednesday in Chicago and Youngstown, Ohio.
By: Brooke Cersosimo, The Daily Republic
College basketball players are still hitting the court and so is Kelly Pfeifer.
Pfeifer, of Mitchell, recently refereed two NCAA Division I College Insider Tournament games Tuesday and Wednesday in Chicago and Youngstown, Ohio.
This is Pfeifer’s third year of refereeing Division I-level games and the postseason games rank at the top for him.
“The intensity is higher and there is more pressure,” he said. “Teams are wanting to stay alive and everything gets elevated.”
Pfeifer, who played basketball for the Mitchell Kernels and Dakota Wesleyan Tigers, got into reffing in 2004. His first games in the stripes were sophomore, junior varsity and varsity in the Corn Palace. Pfeifer’s DWU coach, Doug Martin helped in starting his reffing career.
Since then, Pfeifer has moved his way up from small town basketball games to some of Division I’s biggest stages. But like anything else, he had to start from the bottom up.
“To do Division I games, I had to go to camp,” said Pfeifer, who also credits former McCook Central/Montrose boys’ basketball coach Bill Marquardt for his rise in officiating. “I got noticed at some reffing camps and started adding conferences from there.”Pfeifer was first added to the Summit League, which includes South Dakota State University and University of South Dakota.
“When you step on a Division I floor for the first time, it’s a moment you’ll never forget,” he said. “I was very excited and happy to be there.”
In addition to Summit League games, Pfeifer referees for four other Division I conferences — Southland, Big Sky and the Big Ten. He also referees Great Plains Athletic Conference and Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference games.
This year, Pfeifer, who refereed at the NAIA national tournament last weekend in Kansas City, Mo., estimated reffing 77 college basketball games and 37 of those were Division I games.
Pfeifer said he loves being at the college level and has no intent, right now, of reffing games at the high school or professional levels.
“I’m really enjoying the college level and am going as far as I can at the college games,” said Pfeifer, adding that he travels “a lot.” He could not disclose any information about the amount of miles or distance he has traveled but did say his “frequent flyer status went up.”
Despite all the traveling, Pfeifer said he feels fortunate to be a part of something he really enjoys.
“You meet a lot of great people,” he said. “I really enjoy refereeing and being a part of game now that I don’t play anymore.”